|Wiyaala Shows off one of her awards|
Noella Wiyaala granted #TheAfricanDream an exclusive interview from her base in the port city of Tema in Ghana, where she talked about herself, music and plans for 2015. Wiyaala is a singer-songwriter who writes her own lyrics and classifies her genre as Afropop.
Wiyaala is probably the only artiste in the world recording in the Sissala language which she says is one of the most beautiful languages for singing in. Her lyrics are about where she comes from and “the traditional environment I grew up in and how at the same time it is being influenced by Western cultures both musically and socially” she says.
The award winning musician walked away with two trophies at the maiden edition of the All Africa Music Awards which took place December 2014 on Victoria Island in Lagos Nigeria. Her awards were won in The Most Promising Artiste in Africa and The Revelation of The African Continent categories respectively. Some of the artistes that were vying for the 23.9-carat gold-plated trophies with Wiyaala were respectively from Nigeria, Kenya and Mozambique.
During her conversation with #TheAfricanDream, Wiyaala revealed how humbled she is to have been honored among such greats like Angelique Kidjo, the Grammy award winning singer-songwriter and activist from Benin in West Africa.
“It is such an honor for people to compare me to her, but I will appreciate it even more if people see me for who I really am and discover my very own true uniqueness and style” Wiyaala said. When we asked Wiyaala to talk about something most people will find intriguing about her she responded by simply saying: “I love to wear boxers because they are comfortable” and then she burst out laughing.
Wiyaala says her fans have stood by her through thick and thin and had faith in her when circumstances tried to dissuade her. Another person the musician also had praises for was John Sherren; her manager, who like her mother really “believed in me when no one else thought I could get anywhere” she said.
“Music has always been a part of my life even though I initially wanted to be a nurse when I was growing up. Then along the line I started receiving praises for my singing prowess. That is when I told my mother that I wanted to be a musician and sing on the global stage because when I become internationally recognized, I would have made enough money to build her a house” said Wiyaala about how she started her musical journey.
The difference in her music is the language in which it is sung, the tone of her voice and her intricate blend of traditional musical instruments of her native Sissala with modern beats found out there today. Because music is a universal language Wiyaala says she is happy people now sing her lyrics even though they do not understand the words because she sees it as her own small way of popularizing her native language.
“I am grateful for being recognized yet again. I am optimistic that my success as a young woman will inspire many youth in my community and the entire continent to strive for greatness” the musician said of her multiple recognitions as an artiste. She continued to say that she wants to use her music to create awareness against early or forced marriages among young women in certain regions of the world and highlight the lack of education in those regions while preaching the need for people to foster peace all over.
It is very important to Wiyaala for women all over to harness the power of their potentials and look up to other women who have braved the odds and attained higher heights. She referred to Malala Yousafzai who even before she turns 18; the legal age of adulthood, has become the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate at age 17 and a powerful advocate for women rights across the globe.
My message to people in 2015 is for all to realize that a generation without roots are a lost one, it is therefore very important that “we do not loose sight of our cultures and traditions as a people because the influence of the Internet, Smart phones and other modern inventions and technology is gradually eroding some of the positives of our respective cultures here in Africa. I am therefore asking all to blend the good of modernity with the good of ancient cultures and find a balance between the two” Wiyaala said.
Here at #TheAfricanDream, we believe that Wiyaala is here to carve a niche for herself with her self titled debut album and we ask that you watch out for her because international reggae sensation Rocky Dawuni appropriately describes her as someone who “could possibly be one of the coolest emerging female artistes in Ghana now because she has a lot of potential and charisma”.Enjoy Siiko by Wiyaala, a track off her self-titled album.
Written by Oral Ofori